Tom and Sian founded Bobbin Bikes, a unique brand of highly-sought after stylish bicycles. After setting up their new e-commerce sales channel, they needed the capital to purchase stock to meet a spike in demand. With the support from Funding Circle, they secured a £250,000 loan in a matter of days to make it happen.
Small business isn’t small. It forms the backbone of the UK economy, accounting for approximately 50% of UK GDP¹ and 60% of private sector employment.² Between 2011 and 2017, the number of small and medium-sized businesses in the UK grew by 28%.³ Like Tom and Sian, many small business owners struggle to access fast finance through traditional channels. By connecting investors with directly with small businesses through its online platform, Funding Circle helps businesses in even the most rural locations achieve their growth ambitions.
“We are regularly facilitating more quarterly net lending than all of the traditional banks combined,” said Claudiu Udrea, Global Head of Business Systems Product at Funding Circle UK. “Our goal is to be the go-to platform for small businesses that need access to fast, affordable finance.”
The founders of Funding Circle understand the financial challenges that their customers face. Launched above a waffle shop in the UK in 2010 with only five employees, Funding Circle has since expanded its footprint to Berlin, Amsterdam, and San Francisco, with a global team of over 1,000 employees.
“Salesforce has made scaling our business easy,” said Udrea. “We have been able to grow our markets and customer base without massively expanding our team. We’ve also been able to keep that all-important human touch.”
When dealing with other people’s dreams and money, trust is everything. Building strong and direct relationships with both its small business customers and investors is therefore vital. “We want to get to know our customers so we can understand their needs and provide a vastly superior service,” said Udrea. “And it works – 90% of UK businesses tell us they would come back to us first in the future, rather than a bank.”
Responding to customers’ loan requests is key to building both trust and loyalty. To empower its teams to work faster and smarter, Funding Circle needed to transform its approach to CRM.
“We were using an in-house system with limited functionality; it didn’t give us the competitive edge we needed to grow,” said Udrea. “Salesforce is a leading innovator in CRM and cloud technology. It offers rapid migration, scalability, and cutting-edge capabilities.”
All customer interactions – from the initial enquiry and credit assessment through to managing the loan on the platform and servicing – are now captured in Sales Cloud and Service Cloud, giving Funding Circle the 360-degree view it needs to deliver a seamless customer experience.
“With Salesforce, it’s easy to move the customer between different teams and turn around requests quickly,” explained Amanda Beard-Neilson, Salesforce Manager at Funding Circle UK. “Teams use Chatter if they need to clarify any details – it’s a great tool for internal collaboration.”
Funding Circle has already been able to speed up loan response times, with customers receiving an initial decision in just 24 hours, and the funds in their account in a few days after that.
Leads for new loans come from a wide range of sources – from marketing campaigns to partner organisations. With Sales Cloud, these leads can be qualified, segmented, and closed more easily. “Since implementing Salesforce, we’ve seen a massive increase in customer numbers,” confirmed Udrea. “Our sales teams can now spend more time on customer engagement and less time on administration.”
To ensure it maintains this balance, Funding Circle uses Salesforce’s dashboards and reports to forecast loan volumes and track team activities. “We can monitor performance at an individual and team level, which enables us to spot if we need to expand our resources or develop people’s skills.” said Beard-Neilson.